Rape Cases

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 5th July 2011.

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Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier The Solicitor-General

We have no such plans at the moment, but I assure my hon. Friend that the CPS and I take the prosecution of rape very seriously indeed, and that it is constantly under review.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Does the Solicitor-General have any idea about the level of prosecution of rape cases in Scotland compared with that in England? Will he undertake to remove all barriers to prosecution? In particular, will he facilitate the reporting of rape cases, which will speed up the prosecution rate in due course?

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier The Solicitor-General

I am sure that what is similar in Scotland and in this jurisdiction is not only that rape is taken extremely seriously by the prosecuting authorities and the police, but that prosecution requires evidence. It is essential that victims of rape and sexual assault are enabled to give their evidence and to withstand the hideous stress that necessarily follows from being a witness in a rape or sexual assault case. I can assure my hon. Friend that the Director of Public Prosecutions has personally overseen the drive to improve the approach of the CPS to rape prosecutions.

Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Shadow Minister (Equalities)

At present the CPS has 840 specialist rape prosecutors. Will there be the same number or more next year?

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier The Solicitor-General

That is a decision not only for the DPP but for the chief Crown prosecutors in the various areas throughout the jurisdiction. This will depend on business need, but I assure the hon. Lady that rape prosecutions will be pursued with the same vigour both now and in the future.